Whether you’re a brand new sales rep, a sales leader, or an experienced seller, the key to success relies on your ability to build a championship sales team.
Will Richter drives revenue for medical device companies by increasing their sales volumes, reducing their operational inefficiencies and crushing their competition. He has the unique ability to find the blind spots in any company’s sales process and can turn around a growth plan of action and a winning team in less time bringing bottom-line results faster.
Will points to leadership and culture as the keys to building a championship sales team. Whether you’re a business owner, a CEO, or middle management, the culture gets dictated by the leadership. They set the tone for the culture and they define the expectations for everyone on the sales force. Those leaders also determine what will not be tolerated.
Once teams accept mediocrity, it becomes the norm.
When you’re a sales leader, you’ll either inherit a team or you may get the opportunity to take some educated risks and build a team. You must do a deep assessment of the team’s skills, its motivations, its past successes, and get to know the team members. Find out what makes them tick.
You cannot manage every member of your sales team the same way because they may have different motivators. If you don’t discover their motivators, you’ll struggle to create a championship kind of environment.
People are the fabric of any great culture. If you’re at the top, you’ve got to reassess your talent base, and you’re probably going to have to let some of that go. Think about the culture you want to create. Then, seek out people who have the experience and the knowledge you want. If your sellers are strong and they have similar values, they’ll outlast someone who simply looks good on paper.
The average sales rep lasts about 18 months in any company. So if you bring a new seller on board, imagine the cost of onboarding plus the cost of training and the ramp-up time it takes for him to start earning money. Your company won’t likely make anything if he only stays for 18 months.
The worst part of the sales leader job results from having to let team members know that they aren’t a good fit for the team. In fact, the higher up you go, the more these people have on the line. They have families and wives and big mortgages and a lot to lose. Will reports feeling a lot of empathy for these folks.
At the same time, do not accept exceptions or excuses. Expect your team to have the same “win all the time” attitude that you have.
Will was hired to turn a sales team around in which only about half of the team members were strong. One gentleman who had been with the company for six years absolutely killed it his first year, but then he rested on his laurels. The company couldn’t fire him because people had tried in the past and it had become a political issue.
Will had to work closely with the guy, giving him a lot of feedback and working to coach him up. But Will’s says that people are either coachable or they aren’t. If you aren’t coachable, you’re cutting yourself off from professional development. This guy didn’t want to be coached, so Will put him on a 30-day plan. The guy got in his face and screamed at him and eventually, they were able to ask him to go.
Will likes to build relationships by getting to know his sellers as people. He asks about their families and their hometowns, and what makes them tick. Then he recommends being an open book yourself. Be transparent and real about your shortcomings.
As you coach your team members, speak factually. Leave the emotion and personal information out of the conversation. Stick to facts and data.
Highlight the fact that she has a quota, she has a territory, and she has a quantifiable history. Now, she has a certain amount of time to accomplish this other thing in order to avoid moving to a new set of consequences. Document everything. Factual information feels less personal and it’s easier to digest.
Create a profile for the kind of players you’d like to hire. How many do you need? What type of background do you want? Should they have a certain amount of experience? What kind of values are you seeking?
Whatever your criteria might be, create a profile and then create a world-class recruiting strategy and a strong hiring process.
Many companies place an ad on Indeed any time they need to hire a new seller. They sort through resumes, pick three, interview two, and hire one. It’s called reactive recruiting.
On the other hand, when you’re proactively sourcing candidates, begin by hiring a recruiter. Tell him exactly what you’re looking for and ask him to leverage his database to find candidates who meet your criteria. Have him call the candidates that meet your criteria and then screen them. Ensure that they are the top of the top before you ever sit down with them.
Determine what you want your hiring process to look like.
Once you’ve matched the values, make sure you don’t hire reps with massive egos. Implement these strategies, then onboard them properly and train them thoroughly. That’s the foundation of a championship sales team.
Once you’ve established your value system, you’ve put the right leadership in place, you’ve created the right culture, you’ve developed a good recruiting strategy, you’ve created your profiles, and you’ve built an excellent training program, then you must train your team on your product, as well as training them on superior sales skills for your market in your industry.
Your ultimate goal is to create a proactive sales management program that sets realistic but strong goals that hold the reps accountable. Recognize that your success is directly tied to your sellers’ success.
Will calls himself a big fan of military and their tactics. He finds that leading from the front demands leaders who are willing to be in the field. If all they do is sit in the office, they won’t know what the team is doing.
Sellers respect managers who get into the fight with them. After your presentations, talk with the seller about the call and the things that were great about it. Then address things that could have been done better.
We all feel good when we accomplish things. It makes us confident. Understand, though, that there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive.
Be mindful of managing the team’s time as well. What activities are they engaging in? Where are they going? Who are they calling? Are they making the best use of their time?
Young sellers often think they can cut corners. Approach-based management allows well-trained, talented sellers who engage in high activity levels to reach their goals. If they do the right things at the right times and the right places, they won’t struggle.
You want to be in a culture with people who share your same values. Hire the people that you can trust and respect, and who are competent and honest and hard-working.
We’ve all taken jobs where we didn’t know what to expect until we started working. Do a great job of smoking out the company’s values and culture.
If you can’t click with the existing employees, your time there will be short-lived.
You can connect with Will on LinkedIn. He’s happy to help sellers who are working to build a championship sales team.
You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.
If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.
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Christie Walters believes that sales is an act of service. She defines coaching as the secret sauce for all top performers. Coaches take on different forms, and Christie believes that the best coaches operate from the performer’s perspective rather than their own.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Christie Walters, co-host of the podcast The Why and The Buy, explains how coaching can help you find better ways to accomplish things and help you overcome barriers to success. She answers the question, “What role does a sales coach play in a growing organization?”
She calls coaching powerful and transformative, and she relates that she worked with her own coach for 10 years before becoming one herself.
Good sales coaches help you identify your own goals and your own internal struggles.
The outside perspective a coach offers can help you fine-tune your life and your work. Coaches help us recognize our blind spots and the self-limiting beliefs that are holding us back.
Coaches don’t necessarily indicate that there’s a problem. Very often, companies bring them in to initiate big change.
Coaches help you design the future of your life instead of allowing your future to happen to you.
Organizations typically engage coaches when they are trying to move to the next level.
For sales leaders, in particular, it’s easy to get so busy managing out and up that you forget to manage down. If you’re managing down, you’re often not coaching along the way.
It’s really more than sales processes, which are important to success. It’s also more than sales training, which will largely look the same for every person in your organization. Sales coaching relates to the individual person because each of us has unique struggles.
Coaching, together with training and leadership, can exponentially change the trajectory of your team.
It’s difficult for sales managers and leaders to step into the personal level with their employees, but it’s a powerful tool for success.
There must be a personal element for each person’s processes, and the path to success won’t look the same for everyone. Simply mimicking others’ success won’t work because each salesperson has a unique personality.
Although there is value in parroting what you see and hear others doing, that cannot be your long-term plan. If you’re new to the industry, it’s ok to copy what others are doing, but develop your own techniques and your own authentic approach.
If you aren’t selling from an authentic place, you might have small successes, but you won’t be ultimately successful.
Christie said that although she is often hired by companies, she serves individuals. She strives to help people discover themselves and their own tendencies so they can tie those things to their own work performance.
It’s about getting the individual deeply connected to the work he’s doing and about helping him understand his work as a service. He’s serving the people he’s selling to, and he’s supporting other things he loves by working.
What drives you on a day-to-day basis?
The first meeting will help you figure out what drives you, what blocks you, and what your blind spots are. Christie views coaches as accountability partners for their clients, and she notes that too many salespeople aren’t their own champions.
She also stresses the power of a single negative thought and the power it has to spiral to more negativity. When salespeople learn to channel that frenetic energy into something that serves them instead of draining them, they’ll change their sales performance.
Every salesperson will eventually struggle, and every company will eventually face transition.
Coaches come in all shapes and sizes, but there are three elements to success for every organization.
Be a champion for your salespeople and consider hiring a sales coach to transform your team.
Connect with Christie Walters on LinkedIn, or on her website, ChristieWalters.com. Find her podcast The Why And The Buy, and listen to an earlier conversation between Donald Kelley and Christie Walters on episode 87 of her podcast. You can also call or text her at (770) 687-6678.
Today’s episode was also brought to you by Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and making your brand pop using video. If you want to stand out, use video. Video is everywhere, and it can help you improve your presence. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
If you think you might benefit from more stories like these, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights. We’re beginning a new semester this fall, and we’d be honored for you to join us.
It’s Sunday evening, and you’re dreading work tomorrow. You give your time, but not your heart, because you don’t feel like you’re getting the help you need to increase sales. Company culture may be to blame.
Today we’re talking about company culture: why it’s important to create a great company culture and how you do it.
An editor’s note in the South Florida Business Journal pointed out that company culture is the key to growth within any organization. But is company culture more important than sales?
The truth is that you must have a focus on both sales and company culture. If you don’t focus on your employees and your customers, your company will stagnate.
I worked in an organization once that didn’t value my input.
Somewhere along the way, the company lost sight of caring for its employees. Ego took over and it cannibalized the company.
The employees retreated into their own silos and focused solely on themselves. Eventually, the company unexpectedly let go of employees because they were more focused on dollars than on people.
When you have a company culture of empathy, you might still have to cut employees, but you’ll have a plan for it. In turn, your concern for your employees will prompt them to bend over backward for you and the company.
Once your employees feel like part of your culture, they will care about the shared mission. They will come together for the common good of the mission.
Now you have an amazing product or service and a team that is united behind it. You’re infusing everyone with the drive to become sales professionals.
Here at The Sales Evangelist, our entire team focuses on helping new and struggling sellers close more deals.
All our content centers on that idea. Our whole team centers on that vision.
When you help your employees, your employees will remember it, and they’ll help you.
Ask yourself what you can do to help your employees. Seek first to understand them, and then they’ll seek to understand you and your mission.
Tell friends and colleagues about this podcast, so that if they don’t have the support of their leadership, they can get help here.
Check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that targets sellers of all levels to help them connect with other people and improve their effectiveness.
Subscribe wherever you’re listening and help us evangelize the mission of effective selling.
We want you to be successful; to find more leads; to build more value; to close more deals; to do big things.
Choose the former and you might shortly realize you’re in the wrong company. It’s therefore critical that you choose the company that best fits you if you want to advance your career – long term.
Dan is the Founder and CEO of Treeline Inc., a 17-year-old sales recruitment company. They help companies build solid sales organizations.
Today, he shares some sales characteristics that you can align with your sales environment.
What’s their average deal size? What’s their average cycle? How much is the quota for the year?
Sales people have different selling characteristics, not because they’re not talented, but because they picked the wrong opportunity. Some people can be consultative in nature. Although personality traits can be similar, the selling characteristics may be different.
It doesn’t mean you make 200 calls a day. Rather, this is more of an emotional resilience. It’s your ability to emotionally disconnect from an opportunity so you’re more realistic and more logical.
Have the assumption that another competitor is trying to win the business from you.
What’s real and what’s not? Numbers don’t necessarily equate to success.
Very few people pick up the phone. They just pick up the phone and call the number, expect someone to pick it up, and buy. You can’t just call for the sake of calling. There has to be a process in place.
There is so much noise out there, with millions of jobs being posted everyday. If you’re looking to advance your career, the ultimate way to do a search is to have someone that:
They will listen to your story and help figure out how to leverage your strengths so you can develop some messaging to make sure you can get your food in the door with growing companies.
They’ll help you find the right next step.
They will make sure the opportunities they give you are a best fit to your selling characteristics and that you meet all the requirements of the opportunity you’re looking for next to advance your career.
Be selective in finding the right fit. It’s not about the biggest compensation plan, rather, it’s about sustainability. Find a company and culture. Ask good questions so you know that you can sustain a career with a good company. Then you will grow, find success, and the money will come.
Connect with Dan on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.
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There is no better man to talk about building a SALES CULTURE than Todd Cohen himself. Todd is a keynote speaker, trainer, and author. Doing about 90 keynote appearances a year, which are all about building a sales culture. Todd also does workshops based on his keynotes, as well as a bit of consulting.
He has authored two books; Everyone’s in Sales and Everyone’s in Sales: Stop Apologizing! Both of which focus on helping people realize that everything they do is a selling moment.
He passionately believes that a common thread to everything we do is our ability to sell and sell ourselves.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Todd:
What is a Sales Culture?
A mindset, behavior, or mentality of: “What you do, counts”
Everybody understands that what they do helps the customer say, “yes”
It is the opposite of a siloed culture.
What you’re doing has a profound and systemic effect on the organization’s ability to grow
What you can do TODAY to start developing a sales culture:
2 Ways to Change the Culture:
Current projects Todd is working on:
Todd’s Major Takeaway:
If you have silos in your organization, you are condemning yourself to consistent mediocrity. You must do things to bring down the silos.
Show people the bridge between what they do and how it helps your organization; and you will see them change.